In the wake of economic challenges and the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, making informed choices before spending a substantial amount on travel has become crucial. As the world gradually reopens, travelers are seeking to maximize the value of their investments. When faced with the decision of whether to go gorilla trekking in Rwanda or opt for gorilla habituation in Bwindi, it’s essential to consider various factors and select the option that aligns with your preferences and expectations.
Gorilla trekking trips in Africa are renowned for their exclusivity and cost. Before committing to any activity, conducting thorough research is vital to ensure you receive value for money and make an informed decision. Gorilla trekking in Rwanda’s Volcanoes National Park and gorilla habituation experience in Uganda’s Bwindi Impenetrable National Park are two popular options, each offering a unique gorilla safari experience. To help you make the right choice, consider the following factors:
Both gorilla trekking and gorilla habituation require a permit. In Rwanda, a gorilla permit for Volcanoes National Park costs $1500 per person for a one-hour encounter with the gorillas. The price includes a certificate, guided walk by a ranger, park entry fees, and security. In Bwindi, a gorilla habituation permit for the southern region of the park also costs $1500 per person. However, it allows for a four-hour experience with semi-habituated gorillas. This extended time provides a more in-depth encounter. Consider how much time you want to spend with the gorillas when deciding between the two options.
The primary difference between Rwanda gorilla trekking and Bwindi gorilla habituation is the duration of the experience. In Rwanda, the trekking permits only allow for one hour with the gorillas. In contrast, a gorilla habituation permit in Bwindi provides up to four hours. If you prefer more time to observe and interact with these magnificent creatures, the gorilla habituation experience in Bwindi offers a significant advantage.
Rwanda’s Volcanoes National Park is known for its excellent visibility and the high probability of encountering mountain gorillas. The vegetation, dominated by bamboo, offers clear sightlines and optimal conditions for photography and videography. On the other hand, the gorilla habituation experience in Bwindi involves semi-habituated gorillas that are still becoming accustomed to human presence. While the chances of seeing gorillas are slightly lower in Bwindi, the extended time allows for more opportunities to observe and capture their behaviors. Consider your priorities, whether it’s capturing clear photos or spending more time with the gorillas.
In Volcanoes National Park, only six visitors are currently allowed to visit a gorilla family per day, reduced from the usual eight due to COVID-19 restrictions. In Bwindi’s gorilla habituation experience, the maximum number is limited to four visitors per family. If you’re part of a larger group and prefer trekking together, Rwanda gorilla trekking may be a more suitable choice.
Consider the ease of accessing each national park. Volcanoes National Park in Rwanda is approximately a 2-3 hour drive from Kigali International Airport, making it highly accessible. Bwindi Impenetrable National Park, on the other hand, requires a 9-11 hour drive from Entebbe International Airport in Uganda. However, scheduled or charter flights from Entebbe to Kihihi or Kisoro Airstrip can significantly reduce travel time.
Choosing between Rwanda gorilla trekking and Bwindi gorilla habituation depends on your preferences for time spent with gorillas, chances of clear sightings, group size, and accessibility. Rwanda offers a more guaranteed sighting experience in a shorter time frame, while Bwindi provides a longer and more immersive encounter with semi-habituated gorillas. Both options require a $1500 permit, but the overall experience differs significantly. Ultimately, consider your priorities and consult with a reliable tour operator, such as Trek Africa Expeditions, to ensure a well-planned and unforgettable gorilla safari tailored to your preferences.